Explore: Plenty of festive music, menorah lighting, Christmas lights paddle

Tuba players go live at Market Square

Tuba Christmas blows into town as more than 100 musicians with tubas and euphoniums play seasonal tunes with a distinctive deep, umpah sound, Saturday, Dec. 8, at Market Square.

This is the 40th anniversary of the event, where an all-brass ensemble band puff out holiday tunes on their highly polished tubas and euphoniums — similar to tubas, but smaller and higher-pitched.

article continues below

Performers come from Victoria and around the Pacific Northwest, current and retired music teachers, as well as past and present members of the Naden Band.

“It’s always a great mystery as to who shows up,” said Paul Beauchesne, conductor for the event and also principal tubist with the Victoria Symphony Orchestra. “There’s lots of buzz this year because it is our 40th anniversary.”

This year there is another incentive to show up to play — for the first time, the concert will be live streamed by CHEK TV.

Although there is no admission fee and the players are volunteering their time, the concert raises funds for the Times Colonist Christmas Fund. Last year they received about $3,000. The fund assists families and individuals in need. It also helps with the Mustard Seed’s annual Christmas dinner, which feeds more than 1,000 people.

Expect to hear a new arrangement composed just for the brass instruments, as well as seasonal favourites such as We Three Kings, Good King Wenceslas and Jingle Bells, which is always a crowd pleaser.

The concept for Tuba Christmas started in 1974 in New York City. Concerts are now held in more than 300 cities.

Victoria’s concert is organized by the University of Victoria School of Music.

Free admission, but donations will be accepted for the Times Colonist Christmas Fund. The concert runs 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday in the courtyard of Market Square, 560 Johnson St. Dress for the weather, as the venue is outdoors. For more information, go to Facebook or finearts.uvic.ca/music/calendar/events/40th-tuba-christmas.

To donate, go to timescolonist.com/donate.

More Christmas activities

It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas in Victoria, as local choir groups, bands and performers get in tune with the holidays with seasonal music at a number of events and venues.

• Get into the holiday spirit with the Christmas Spectacular 2018, performed by the Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy. This seasonal event has grown from a simple evening recital for sailors’ families to three usually sold-out concerts at the Royal Theatre

This year, the concert celebrates 40 years of annual Christmas concerts and collaboration with The Salvation Army — raising funds for its Toy Drive.

The band, made up of 35 professional musicians, takes to the stage with special guests that include Master of Ceremonies Bruce Williams, celebrated international soloists and performers from the Canadian College of Performing Arts.

They will play original works and holiday favourites for the entire family.

Tickets are $10, with a new, unwrapped toy on the night of the performance. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Monday to Wednesday (Dec. 10-12) at the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton St. For more information, go to  navy-marine.forces.gc.ca/en/about/structure-marpac-naden-home.page.

• Join the Arbutus Singers in a sing-a-long of some of your favourite Christmas songs and carols at their annual Christmas Concert, Wednesday, Nov. 12, at Alix Goolden Hall.

The sing-a-long will be followed by a concert performed by the 80-member six-part choir singing holiday tunes.

The concert, in its 21st year, has raised more than $400,000 to support local and international organizations in the past 20 years.

The choir is directed by Jack Boomer, who recently won the Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer award at the National Philanthropy Day celebration for his contributions to the community.

The choir’s major community project is ChoirKids, with musical inspiration for more than 2,000 children from seven schools in the past 10 years.

Tickets are $20 adults, $15 students and seniors and $40 family. The concert runs 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Alix Goolden Hall, 907 Pandora Ave. Tickets at alixgooldenhall.com or 250-384-2840.

• Gather your family and friends for the 12th annual Carol-Along with the Carillon, Sunday, Dec. 9, on the grounds of the Royal B.C. Museum.

Sing to the accompaniment of the Netherlands Centennial Carillon at the 45-minute gathering. You will be rewarded for helping make the season bright with hot chocolate and cookies. At the end of the set, the carillon will be lit for the holidays.

The event is free to join. It runs 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. Sunday at the base of the carillon, on the corner of Government and Belleville streets (on the grounds of the Royal B.C. Museum). For more information, go to royalbcmuseum.bc.ca.

Craigdarroch Castle invites you to special events

Re-discover the spirit of a Victorian Christmas at seasonal events planned throughout December at Craigdarroch Castle, starting Saturday, Dec. 8.

The Castle’s halls will be full of festive music, with musicians ranging from jazz artists to medieval folk groups to classical cellists, offering both morning and afternoon performances starting Saturday and continuing until the end of the month.

“Craigdarroch Castle comes alive with a special magic at Christmas,” said John Hughes, executive director. “Every December, we enliven the castle with traditional decorations, as well as special holiday events, such as live music, special Christmas school programs and stage productions of festive classics and new favourites.”

Experience a one-man rendition of A Christmas Carol, a classic tale of ghosts, regret, love and Christmas redemption by actor Jason Stevens, Dec. 14, 15 and 19. Recommended for ages 13 and up.

The popular Classics at the Castle Movie Series features It’s a Wonderful Life, Dec. 6, Nightmare Before Christmas, Dec. 11, White Christmas, Dec. 13 and Miracle on 34th Street, Dec. 18.
The Attitude Theatre Company joins the holiday lineup for a production of Shakespeare’s Will, a one-woman show about love and death, Dec. 27 to 31.

Until Dec. 21, the castle also offers a school program with a costumed guide to lead students on a 75-minute tour to discover B.C.’s history and the excitement of a Victorian Christmas. The program ends with a Victorian craft and a candy cane.

For event tickets and times, go to thecastle.ca or call 250-592-5323. The castle will be closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Museum’s toys of yesteryear exhibit has a message

Reflect on toys you might have been given when you were younger at Toys ’n’ Teddy Bears, the current exhibit at the Sidney Museum and Archives, now until the end of December.

The museum has mounted an annual Christmas special display since 2008.

The focus of this offering is the special relationship between our history, ourselves and our children.

This year’s theme focuses on toys from the 1970s to 1990s, including perennial favourites such as early Transformers, Polly Pockets, board games, Dinky toys, Barbie dolls, accessories and more.

The exhibit should prove a walk down memory lane for most adults and a visual time machine for children to enter their parents’ world of toys.

As a special treat for the kids among us and in us, there will be Teddy bears at play throughout the museum.

Admission by donation. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day at 2423 Beacon Ave. (at 4th Street), Sidney. It occupies the lower level of the Old Post Office.

For more information, go to sidneymuseum.ca.

 Gorge paddling club event offers novel views of holiday season

Join members of the Fairway Gorge Paddling Club for their Christmas Lights Paddle to the Inner Harbour from the club on Monday, Dec. 10.

See holiday decorations from a different perspective as you paddle your way down the Gorge to the Inner Harbour — while gracing the waterway with the sounds of carols of the Christmas Season.

The activity is not suitable for children. No experience necessary. Paddles and life-jackets are supplied.

The cost to join is $10.

The group paddle runs 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. Monday, starting from the Fairway Gorge Paddling Club, 2940 Jutland Rd. For more information, contact Holly Rhodes, hsrhodes@shaw.ca.

For more information on the club, go to fgpaddle.com.

Lighting of menorah set for Sunday 

The community is invited to join Congregation Emanu-El Synagogue at the Public Menorah Lighting ceremony, Sunday, Dec. 9, in Centennial Square.

The menorah, a nine-branched Hebrew candelabra, is usually lit during the eight-day holiday of Hanukkah.

The Victoria High School Rhythm and Blues Band will provide live music, and sufganiyot (traditional doughnuts) will be served to enhance the holiday spirit.

The ceremony is free to attend. It runs 5 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Centennial Square.

For more information, go to congregationemanuel.ca.

Read Related Topics

© Copyright Times Colonist

Find out what's happening in your community.

Popular Entertainment